Jesse Mendes dominated his heat at Haleiwa while advancing to the Round of 64 at the Reef Hawaiian Pro.
HALEIWA, Oahu/Hawaii (Friday, November 15, 2013) – A late afternoon glass-off coupled with excellent overhead waves saw underdog Brazilian Jesse Mendes (world rank: 63) steal the show at the REEF Hawaiian Pro today, when he posted the highest 2-wave combination of the event: 17.9 points out of 20 (9.2 and 8.7). Mendes, 20, from Sao Paulo, was close to flawless on his backhand attack of the famously fun break of Haleiwa. The REEF Hawaiian Pro is the first stop of the $960,000 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing hydrated by vitaminwater®.
Rounding out the top performances today were Ramzi Boukhiam (Morocco); Marc Lacomare (France); and Billy Kemper (Hawaii). Australians Yadin Nicol and Jay Thompson kept the flag flying for Australia.
Boukhiam, 20, posted the first perfect 10 of the event today. Morocco’s only full-time professional surfer, he was runner-up in the ASP World Junior title two weeks ago and ran with the momentum today.
“It’s more like the waves that I have at home, big right handers, so I feel confident here in Hawaii,” said Boukhiam. “My homeland is not an island and it’s cold water but it’s big waves like that so it’s kind of similar surfing, power surfing. No airs, just power surfing.
“I’ve been coming here for a couple of years now. I’ve started to feel more confident here in Hawaii and it’s a place I really like.”
On his perfect 10: “It was a good wave, it was the second wave of the set so it was pretty clean. I just surfed it like nothing crazy but just did three good turns at the right spot. (The judges) liked it, they gave me a 10 so I’m super happy with it. To do a 10 in Hawaii, super cool!”
Frenchman Marc Lacomare is hunting for a strong finish here. Ranked #31 on the world ratings, he has a chance to qualify for the 2014 elite World Championship Tour. He did exactly what was needed to further his cause today, posting a two-wave heat total of 17.47 points (9.3 and 8.17).
“The points here for the two Hawaiian stops – Haleiwa and Sunset – are really important for me,” said Lacomare. “There were lots of waves for everyone today, so we had the opportunity to surf and that is the most important thing. I hope to continue.”
Another athlete with a shot at qualifying is California’s Connor Coffin, 20 (world rank: 36). He advanced today in second place behind Yadin Nicol in a heat that didn’t offer too many set waves.
“I got into the primes halfway through the year and got lucky, I’ve been on a little roll the last couple of events,” said Coffin. “I was really stoked even to just be in the Triple Crown. I’ve always wanted to surf these events.
“The more points I can get the better. I still need to move up four spots (on the ratings). I’m not really thinking about it too much and my goals were just to be in the Primes next year. I’m going to do my best, have fun and see where I end up after the (Vans World Cup) at Sunset.”
Hawaii’s Billy Kemper was the top local in the Round of 96, scoring an even 17 points to easily advance. Driven to perform after a disappointing result in the HIC Pro at Sunset Beach last week, he drew upon all his local knowledge to trump his competition. But Kemper knows it’s way too early in the event to get too confident, with the top seeds set to enter the draw on the next day of competition.
“It’s a big winter and I was kind of nervous after my shocker at Sunset in the 4-star and coming into this event,” said Kemper.
“I’m from Hawaii and growing up over here you don’t really worry about who you’re surfing against it’s more the ocean and finding your waves and I put in a lot of time over here and this is what I trained for and what I love to do. I don’t really bother looking or care who’s in my heat, Im just trying to go out there, have some fun, get some waves and put on a show.”
REEF CLASH OF THE LEGENDS
A bad day turned good for 6-time Vans Triple Crown champion Sunny Garcia (Hawaii) today, bowing out of the main event but getting the better of a fun reunion with three other legends of the sport to win the exhibition REEF Clash of the Legends. The $10,000 first prize definitely helped to lift his mood. His former tour traveling partner Kaipo Jaquias (Hawaii) was second; Michael Ho (Hawaii) was third; and California’s Brad Gerlach was fourth. This was Garcia’s second “Clash” title.
“Winning the Legends is always fun but I was training hard hoping to try and make a bid for a 7th Triple Crown,” said Garcia. “Losing today that kind of dashes all of my hopes. But clash of the Legends is a good thing. I want to see if they can push next year to have Mike (Ho) surf against Mark Richards and Shaun Tomson. I think that would be an insane Clash of the Legends.”
Competition will continue tomorrow, surf pending. A decision will be made at 7am Hawaii time. When it does resume, top seeds including Mick Fanning (AUS); Dane Reynolds (USA); John John Florence (Hawaii); and Nat Young (California) will take to the waves.”
The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing hydrated by vitaminwater® is the world’s premier series of professional surfing events that will culminate with a 2-man battle between Kelly Slater (USA) and Mick Fanning (AUS) for the 2013 men’s ASP World Title. From November 12 through December 20, on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii, $960,000 in prize money and a number of highly coveted titles will be offered across three ASP sanctioned events, including the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing series champion.